American intelligence collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to influence US President Donald Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials. This was reported by the New York Times.
The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, a retired general who was advising Mr. Trump, according to the officials. Both men had indirect ties to Russian officials, who appeared confident that each could be used to help shape Mr. Trump’s opinions on Russia.
Some Russians boasted about how well they knew Flynn. Others discussed leveraging their ties to Viktor Yanukovych, the deposed president of Ukraine living in exile in Russia, who at one time had worked closely with Mr. Manafort.
The information collected last summer was considered credible enough for intelligence agencies to pass to the FBI, which during that period opened a counterintelligence investigation that is continuing. It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn. Both have denied any collusion with the Russian government on the campaign to disrupt the election.
Earlier it was reported that Trump asked FBI to stop investigating Michael Flynn. After a meeting with US President in February, James Comey wrote a memo to document "President's improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation".